Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New smartphone app offers easy and inexpensive solution for hearing screening

Date:
July 8, 2014
Source:
University of Pretoria
Summary:
A lightweight, automated and easy-to-use mobile health solution called hearScreen is ideal for developing countries and use in rural areas.

A hearing test that is child’s play: Prof De Wet Swanepoel testing a four year old with hearScreen, a smart phone app.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Pretoria

A lightweight, automated and easy-to-use mobile health solution called hearScreen is ideal for developing countries and use in rural areas.

Related Articles


An article published in the International Journal of Audiology on 7 July 2014 reports on an innovative smartphone app that will make it easier and cheaper to screen people, including young children and the elderly, for hearing loss. The project was led by Prof De Wet Swanepoel from the University of Pretoria (UP), South Africa, in partnership with colleagues at UP and in Australia.

Data from the World Health Organisation shows that more than 5% of all the people in the world (about 360 million) suffer from permanent disabling hearing loss, and more than 32 million of these are children. In developing areas, up to 80% of people with hearing loss have no prospect of early detection.

"Hearing is the cornerstone for developing language, for learning to speak and to communicate," says Prof Swanepoel, an audiologist at the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Pretoria. He is an expert in the early detection of hearing problems in babies and children. "Even minor hearing defects can have a major impact on language development and the academic performance of children, because they simply get lost within the noisy environs of a classroom."

With the introduction of a new South African health policy in 2012 that requires all Grade 1 learners -- more than 1 million every year -- to be screened for hearing loss, Prof Swanepoel saw the need to develop a mobile and easy-to-use hearing screening device that could replace the cumbersome and heavy apparatus that are currently used.

The newly developed app adheres to international calibration standards, can be loaded onto a low-cost, smartphone, is automated, and continuously monitors background noise to ensure reliable testing. A screening takes only one minute and the data can be uploaded via the mobile phone network to a centralised site for evaluation and recommendations.

"Anyone who knows how to operate a mobile phone can set up the 'hearScreen' device, says Prof Swanepoel, who is also an executive board member of the International Society of Audiology. "It significantly improves and alters current models of school and community-based identification of hearing loss."

"Africa needs cost-effective and sustainable methods with which to identify hearing loss in young children," he adds. "Mobile health technologies such as this app are becoming more and more important in taking healthcare to the people who would otherwise not have access to hearing screening."

Several field trials are currently underway in schools and primary health care settings. Findings demonstrate screening outcomes equivalent to the current gold standard. The user-friendly interface and affordability opens up new models for early access to hearing loss detection within underserved communities.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pretoria. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. De Wet Swanepoel, Hermanus C. Myburgh, David M. Howe, Faheema Mahomed, Robert H. Eikelboom. Smartphone hearing screening with integrated quality control and data management. International Journal of Audiology, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.3109/14992027.2014.920965

Cite This Page:

University of Pretoria. "New smartphone app offers easy and inexpensive solution for hearing screening." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708101619.htm>.
University of Pretoria. (2014, July 8). New smartphone app offers easy and inexpensive solution for hearing screening. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708101619.htm
University of Pretoria. "New smartphone app offers easy and inexpensive solution for hearing screening." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708101619.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins